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Design How-To: Make Type and Photos Play Nice

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This story is taken from “Before & After” Magazine”.

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A strong, vibrant photo can be the star player in your design. But what if the photo is so strong that it overshadows everything else on the page? That’s when it’s time for a little strategic “swiping”; using an image editor, you erase part of the image so that text is visible, but the image’s power remains. After seeing all the examples in this how-to, you’ll be inspired to try it yourself.

“Here, a horizontal image is incompatible with the vertical space. Solution? Follow the image’s natural lines, and fade it into a sweeping composition. The panoramic backdrop fades slowly into the distance, leaving the viewer’s attention on the buffalo. The dressy, willowy typeface, colored to match the grass, is a sophisticated contrast to the heavy, earthy scene.”

We’ve posted this story as a PDF file. All you do is click this link “Balance Type and Photos” to open the PDF file in your Web browser. You can also download the PDF to your machine for later viewing. This how-to is formatted for easy onscreen reading. However, if you prefer paper, see pages 13 through 18 of the PDF, which repeat the information in a format suitable for printing.

To open the PDF, you’ll need Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader. We highly recommend Acrobat Reader 7.0 to view Before & After PDFs. To download Acrobat Reader click below:

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John McWade

John McWade

Designer, teacher, and author John McWade has been at the forefront of the graphic design and desktop publishing worlds since 1985. The very first beta user of the desktop publishing program Aldus PageMaker, he went on to found the first desktop publishing company, PageLab, to take advantage of the new tools. With his wife Gaye McWade, he founded the acclaimed Before & After magazine, long a favorite resource for graphic designers.
John McWade

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Posted on: May 10, 2005

John McWade

Designer, teacher, and author John McWade has been at the forefront of the graphic design and desktop publishing worlds since 1985. The very first beta user of the desktop publishing program Aldus PageMaker, he went on to found the first desktop publishing company, PageLab, to take advantage of the new tools. With his wife Gaye McWade, he founded the acclaimed Before & After magazine, long a favorite resource for graphic designers.

3 Comments on Design How-To: Make Type and Photos Play Nice

  1. and I think the background of the photo is more interesting than the buffalo.

  2. The background in the photo adds nothing to the message; indeed, it detracts from it. Erasing it makes the text readable and gives the design much needed white space.

  3. I like the article. Great information to know

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